Depression is more than a feeling of sadness; it’s a persistent mood disorder that doesn’t go away even during joyous occasions. It also triggers an avalanche of symptoms you may not readily associate with depression, such as physical pain, restlessness, inability to concentrate, and insomnia.
Although sleep problems don’t always indicate depression, and depression doesn’t always come with insomnia, the two conditions share an undeniable link worth exploring.
Dr. Naima Cheema, our triple-board certified physician at Nexclin Medicine, has studied the correlation between depression and insomnia and wants our patients throughout Alpharetta, Milton, and Roswell, Georgia, to understand the connection. Here’s what you need to know.
The link between depression and sleep
Depression and sleep issues often go hand-in-hand. In fact, trouble sleeping is so prevalent among people with depression that it’s often considered one of the criteria for a depression diagnosis. Your depression-related sleep issues may include the following:
- Obstructive sleep apnea: a sleep disorder that interrupts breathing
- Hypersomnia: excessive daytime sleepiness
- Insomnia: inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
About 90% of people with depression suffer from some type of sleep disorder, and insomnia is the most common.
Depression and insomnia: It’s a two-way street
Depression and insomnia have a bidirectional relationship. Sleep deprivation is known to trigger or worsen mental health issues. For example, lack of sleep can:
- Trigger mood changes
- Cause cognitive dysfunction
- Deregulate emotions
- Alter neural processes
- Induce stress
- Increase inflammation
Many of these symptoms overlap with depression symptoms.
On the other hand, depression leads to negative thought patterns and a lack of exercise, both of which may contribute to insomnia.
Although it’s possible for these two conditions to be present and unrelated, a large body of research suggests a clear connection. It also indicates that if you suffer from depression and insomnia, treatment can help relieve the symptoms of both.
Treatment for depression and insomnia
Which came first, depression or insomnia? It’s difficult to determine, but the treatment plan is clear. Dr. Cheema often begins by addressing the problem you identify as primary. Your input is vital to your recovery, and she takes your description of your symptoms seriously.
Psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, along with antidepressants, are highly effective at tackling depression symptoms, including insomnia.
If Dr. Cheema determines that a hormone imbalance is responsible for your depression or insomnia, hormone replacement therapy may be the key to restoring health.
You also play a key role in your treatment. Lifestyle changes can address both insomnia and depression. Examples include:
- Getting plenty of regular exercise
- Practicing deep breathing techniques
- Practicing yoga
- Adhering to a sleep schedule
- Eating a healthy diet
Dr. Cheema guides you through the most effective practices and helps you develop routines and habits that are most likely to address your unique symptoms. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, insomnia, or both, schedule an appointment with Dr. Cheema soon. The longer you live with your symptoms, the worse they get.
Contact us online or by phone today, and get back on the road toward a more rested, happy life.